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Mucins are a family of large, heavily glycosylated proteins. Although some mucins are membrane-bound due to the presence of a hydrophobic membrane-spanning domain that favors retention in the plasma membrane, the concentration here is on those mucins that are secreted on mucosal surfaces and saliva.
Additional recommended knowledge
Glycosylation and aggregation
Mucin genes encode mucin monomers that are synthesized as rod-shape apomucin cores that are post-translationally modified by exceptionally abundant glycosylation.
Mucins are secreted as massive aggregates of proteins with molecular masses of roughly 1 to 10 million Da. Within these aggregates, monomers are linked to one another mostly by non-covalent interactions, although intermolecular disulfide bonds may also play a role in this process.
Two distinctly different regions are found in mature mucins:
At least 19 human mucin genes have been distinguished by cDNA cloning — MUC1, 2, 3A, 3B, 4, 5AC, 5B, 6-9, 11-13, and 15-19.
The major secreted airway mucins are MUC5AC and MUC5B, while MUC2 is secreted mostly in the intestine but also in the airway.
Increased mucin production occurs in many adenocarcinomas, including cancer of the pancreas, lung, breast, ovary, colon, etc. Mucins are also overexpressed in lung diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, COPD or cystic fibrosis. Two membrane mucins, MUC1 and MUC4 have been extensively studied in relation to their pathological implication in the disease process. Moreover, mucins are also being investigated for their potential as diagnostic markers.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Mucin". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|